ANC Women’s League march an act of hypocrisy

Ivan Meyer

Leader of the DA in the Western Cape

The ANC Women’s League’s protest march to the Legislature in Cape Town today must go down as one of the biggest acts of hypocrisy ever committed by this organization.

If the ANC Women’s League was serious about women’s issues, they certainly would not have backed President Jacob Zuma to retain his position as ANC leader at the party’s national conference in Mangaung. Nor would they turn a blind eye to the national disgrace that is the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities and its minister, Lulu Xingwana, who recently spent R2.1 million redecorating her department’s head office and allocated  R25 million of her budget to travel and subsistence, while just R13.5 million went to its “Children’s Rights and Responsibilities” programme.

If you compare the DA-led Western Cape’s record of delivery for women with other provinces, it is clear that where the DA governs we deliver better than anywhere else. Why does the ANC Women’s League focus on the Western Cape when our delivery is the best in the country?

Examples of delivery are everywhere you look:

  • World-class public hospitals in Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain have been built with large maternity and obstetrics units to service women from disadvantaged communities
  • The Western Cape is the only province with a 100% record on textbook delivery according to a Human Rights Commission report, giving young women a quality education and the best possible chance at a successful career
  • The Cape metro provides basic services to the poor at a 30% cheaper rate than any other city in the country according to the recent State of Cities report, meaning mothers can spend more of their income on their children rather than on basic services
  • In the Western Cape, the mother-to-child HIV transmission rate was brought down to 1,8%, the lowest in the country
  • We have expanded the number of  “no fee” schools which benefit just under 370 000 learners and last year we paid out over R30 million to 650 schools that applied for fee compensation, which is the highest in the country

The DA will continue delivering where we govern despite the noise from those with narrow political agendas and no genuine concern for the constituencies they claim to represent.

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Women’s Parliament taxi’s only for ANC women

Desiree van der Walt MPL

DA Limpopo Legislature Caucus Leader

This morning, women from the Democratic Alliance Women Network (DAWN) were ordered to get off a taxi paid by the Legislature on their way to attend Women’s Parliament in Lebowakgomo.

The incident happened at the Phalaborwa Municipality offices,  a pick-up spot for women who are attending a women’s event organised and paid for by the Legislature.

The 4 DAWN women who were already inside the taxi were ordered to get off by the ANC women. This is notwithstanding the fact that this private taxi was paid for by the Legislature to fare selected women who are attending the women’s event.

I will be writing to the Speaker Mr. Ernest Nong to urge him to refuse to pay for this taxi. The ANC must foot the bill for this particular taxi.

The Legislature is representative of all the people of Limpopo, irrespective of party political affiliation.

Its coffers cannot benefit only one party.

What was done by the ANC’s women is despicable. During women’s month when women of all parties are meant to rally in solidarity around issues affecting women, they allow party politics to be divisive.

The Legislature can therefore not foot this bill. It needs to send a clear message that ours is a multi-party democracy where all parties are represented.

This message by the Legislature, a significant branch of our government, will be particularly important in the run-up  to next year’s general elections.

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Unacceptable increase in bucket toilets in Eastern Cape

Dacre Haddon MPL

Shadow MEC for Local Goverment

There has been an increase in the number of consumers units using the bucket toilet system in the province.

In a report released by Statistics South Africa titled “Non-financial census of municipalities for the year ended 30 June 2012” it was reported that Eastern Cape use of bucket system toilets on municipal land had risen from 24 971 units in 2011 to 25 485 units in 2012.

This increase is the second highest increase in the country after the Free State province.

When one calculates the number of such units being used on private land, the Nelson Mandela Metro alone has in excess of 35 000 bucket toilets. It is clear that the Department of Local Government does not have a coherent plan to assist municipalities to eradicate the problem.

It is unacceptable that many communities have to live in squalor of the bucket system which is in contravention of Section 24 of the Bill of Rights in our Constitution which states that “everyone has their right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being”.

Bucket toilets are a dangerous health hazard to humans.

There is not enough attention being given to eradicating this scourge.  It is an insult to the well-being and dignity of citizens who have to use this system.

By so doing citizens are denied the right and opportunity of a dignified life of municipal services.

I have written to the MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, asking him why there has been this increase in bucket toilet usage and what plans are in place to eradicate this inhumane and insulting sanitation method for our communities.

Furthermore, I will be raising a motion in the Provincial Legislature for action and dedicated funding to address this issue as a matter of urgency.

One of the main contributing factors leading to the increase in the use of the bucket toilet system is inadequate sanitation provision in communities due to bulk infrastructure challenges and blocked projects.

In addition the report reveals a lack of infrastructure ability by municipalities to provide basic sanitation and other services.  In the report it is stated that since 2011 only 28 municipalities of 45 in the province have capacity to provide sewerage, water and sanitation services.

However, of these municipalities only 26 actually provided sewerage and sanitation in 2011 and 2012 while water provision was supplied by 27 municipalities.

The DA will ensure that the eradication of the bucket toilet system and water and sanitation provision becomes a beacon priority for service delivery in the province.

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Public Protector Report vindicates NW SCOPA position

Chris Hattingh MPL

DA Leader in the North West

The deep-cutting report of the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, on abuse on public funds in the North West Department of Finance, confirmed the concerns of the NW DA over a prolonged period of time.  The NW SCOPA in addition also had to endure considerable criticism from the NW Executive for embarking on an investigation involving the Public Protector, The Public Service Commission, The Auditor General and the Hawks (SAPS) in the abuse of public funds by the North West Treasury.

Adv. Madonsela emphasized her concerns that in a country where 51% of people are living below the poverty line and 39 million are depended on grants, public funds could be wasted on such a scale as in this case.

She raised her concern that more than R500 000 was paid to a legal firm just to formulate charges in a disciplinary case and confirmed that this type of abuse is rife in Departments, not only in the North West but country-wide.

In her summary of the report Adv. Madonsela frequently used word such as improper conduct, abuse of power, flawed, unlawful, and acting against the constitution and treasury regulations and maladministration.

She also announced that certain aspects of the case, including possible collusion and fraud are being investigated by the HAWKS.

The DA is in full support of the recommendations contained in the Public Protector Report including the remedial action directed at the Premier which includes disciplinary action against certain officials.

The DA is mindful of NW practices, both at local and provincial level, to use blank cheques to get rid of deployed ANC cadres when their political usefulness have been exhausted – in many instances being the root of the behaviour described by Adv. Madonsela.

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Ward meeting to resolve Baysville cycle track impasse

Athol Trollip MPL

Leader in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature

The ward councillor for Ward 18 in Buffalo City, Isabel Thompson, is calling a ward meeting on Tuesday next week at the Old Selbornians Club to hear and weigh public opinion on the Cycle Park track in the Baysville and Bunkershill-area.

I believe that this issue should be resolved in a manner which will satisfy all parties involved.  East London has been marketing itself as a sporting and adventure destination and as such, we have to ensure that we utilise our natural environment in a responsible and sustainable manner.  A good example is the successful Nahoon Parkrun, which takes place every Saturday in the Nahoon Nature Reserve, which is also a “green belt” area.

After being contacted by many irate cyclists, athletes, residents, sporting associations, the originators of this facility and reading the article on the Daily Dispatch “Cyclists furious over closure of trail” I contacted the DA ward councillor and suggested that she calls a public ward meeting in order to allow all the relevant neighbouring residents, role players,  stakeholders and the general public to voice their opinion about the existence of the cycle track and the current impasse.    This is precisely the role of a ward councillor and her response was enthusiastic.  She has made all the necessary arrangements and has invited the relevant BCM officials to attend the meeting.

It does appear that the originators of this facility might have been remiss in applying for and acquiring the necessary permission and permits before establishment, and this needs to be addressed.  The DA believes that all concerns in this regard can be amicably addressed if all concerned approach this mater in an open-minded and objective manner.

Having a cycle track in an open, public space and “green belt” area is not anathema as these facilities exist in most major metropolitan cities in the world.   The City of Cape Town is blessed with having Table Mountain, which is regarded as one of the Natural Wonders of the World, it is a heritage site and a nature reserve;  there are hundreds of kilometres of cycle track on and around the mountain and its abutting forests.  Cyclists get to enjoy and treasure the magnificence of this natural wonder every day and night without compromising the environment.  Why should the Baysville- facility be any different if it complies with all relevant legislation and regulations?

This meeting is a golden opportunity for East London residents in Ward 18 to decide what they want.

All interested persons are invited to attend the meeting.

Date:  Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Time:  18:30

Venue:  Old Selbornian Club

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Groote Schuur Hospital’s 30th kidney transplant this year

Theuns Botha MPP

Western Cape Government

Yesterday, Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, visited Mr Martin Stuurman at Groote Schuur Hospital after a kidney transplant on him on his 47th birthday, ten days ago on 20 August.

Mr Stuurman is from George in the Southern Cape.

It was the hospital’s 30th kidney transplant this year. The hospital performs average 60 kidney transplants per year, and Tygerberg Hospital performs about 25 kidney transplants per year, mostly from living donors and around one-third from deceased donors.

There is not a fixed budget for transplantation. The Western Cape Department of Health strives to perform as many transplants as theatre time allows, and is also dependent on organ donors. Kidney transplants are the most cost-effective form of renal replacement therapy and it offers the patient the best quality of life.

A kidney transplant is much cheaper than maintaining a patient on dialysis.  Similarly a liver transplant is cheaper in the long run than treating the complications of chronic liver disease.

Approximate costs for dialysis is around R150, 000 per patient per year and for transplant patients it is approximately 30% less.

An important point is that we have too few nephrologists in SA – around 50 in total, which is about 1 per million of the population. The Western Cape state sector employs about 10 nephrologists.

Western Cape Government Health would ideally want to assist all patients who require dialysis treatment but are faced with the reality of limited resources.  The Department are continually exploring innovative ways to address this. An example is partnerships with the private sector to assist to meet the ever-increasing demand.

When faced with limited capacity, it’s imperative to prioritise and it can be challenging for the selection committee to be placed in such a position to ultimately make a decision in this regard.

The Organ Donor Foundation promotes organ donation.

Transplant coordinators at Groote Schuur Hospital and at Tygerberg Hospital facilitate the process. The transplant coordinators approach families at the time of certification of brain death and ask whether they are willing to donate their loved ones organs and tissues. If they are willing to do so, it is clearly documented which specific organs they give consent for.

Most common organs are:  heart, kidneys, lungs, liver, pancreas, eyes/corneas, and skin, bone and heart valves.

The Organ Donor Foundation is constantly trying to increase the awareness of the need for organ donation. At present South Africa does not have a donor registry.

 

There are more patients on the kidney transplant waiting list compared to hearts and livers.  Please note that many young patients with kidney failure are sent home to die because there are only a limited number of places on dialysis.  The dialysis places only become available when these patients receive a transplant.

Over the years, there have been thousands of patients who have undergone transplantation.  With between 120 and 150 transplants being done in the Western Cape each year, and most patients surviving long term, it is apparent that there are hundreds of transplant patients being cared for.

SUMMARY ON THE SELECTION CRITERIA USED DURING THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS.

The major barrier to accessing dialysis is the high cost of the procedure.

Currently the annual cost of treatment is conservatively estimated at R100 000. Because of this access to dialysis treatment has had to be restricted. It is not possible for government to treat all patients who are in need of dialysis. To ensure equity and the optimal use of limited resources a priority setting process was established.

The first overriding principle of this policy was that a patient to be accepted on to dialysis must be a suitable transplant candidate. If a patient is accepted for dialysis only, then that space remains permanently blocked until the death of that patient.

A successful transplant, will free a space for a new patient. Each patient undergoes a full medical and psycho social assessment and their details are presented to the committee constituted by the referring doctor, the head of the unit, senior and junior kidney specialists, nurses, medical superintendent and senior social worker.

Based on this detailed assessment patients are categorized into those who are very likely to be successfully transplanted, those who may undergo a transplant but have other serious disease or problems whereby transplantation may be more complicated and those who are unable to undergo transplantation.

Those in the first category will always be accepted for dialysis even if the programme is full. The provincial government has guaranteed that these patients will receive dialysis. Those in the second category will be accepted once there is space available.  Lastly in the third category patients will not be accepted under any circumstances. Typical examples will be patients who have serious drug addiction or who have advanced heart disease or other serious diseases. All aspects of the meeting are documented and if the patient or family is unhappy they can appeal to the medical superintendent for a review.

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Mpumalanga’s rebranding: Merely an ANC election ploy?

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

The DA notes recent media reports that premier David Mabuza’s government intends to rebrand Mpumalanga to its former payoff line of “The Place of the Rising Sun”, and welcomes the return of this accurate description of our province.

We also agree that the previous slogan “Mpumalanga, A Pioneering Spirit” was a bad idea from the start, as premier Mabuza’s term of office hasn’t been very “pioneering” to say the least.

However, we do question the motive and timing of the exercise. Premier Mabuza’s term of office has been characterised by continuous change, ranging from mergers to transfers, reshuffles and redeployments – adding huge instability to the provincial administration, and the DA fears that this rebranding exercise is little more than an attempt to create an illusion of service delivery.

While government has claimed that the slogan represents the opportunities and hope of a new day, and that the rebranding will position Mpumalanga as a preferred tourist and investment destination, they will do well to remember that actions speak louder than words.

It is the crippled tourism infrastructure, deteriorating facilities, widespread corruption, tender manipulation and overall poor service delivery that defines Mpumalanga’s reputation, and a new logo and motto is not going to change that.

For this or any other rebranding exercise to hold any value, the premier, his cabinet and the top echelon of the provincial ANC must behave accordingly, and live, act and project a brand of hope, opportunity and prosperity, failing which the exercise will amount to little more than placing old wine in new vessels.

What is clear is that realising his poor performance since 2009, premier Mabuza is desperate to present the people of Mpumalanga with a “new” government and even a “new” ANC, ahead of the 2014 election.

To this end, the DA will submit written questions to the premier, requesting him to divulge the projected costs of rebranding the province, as well as to provide us with the necessary market research results justifying the exercise, and how, if at all this rebranding will bring opportunities and hope to our province’s people.

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Safety MEC’s departure should come as a relief to people of KZN

Sizwe Mchunu, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison

The expected redeployment of Willies Mchunu — the current Community Safety and Transport MEC in KZN — should come as a relief to the people of KwaZulu-Natal.

Media reports today indicate that Mchunu may be deployed to national as President Jacob Zuma’s advisor on safety and security matters.

The DA welcomes the MEC’s departure.  He has not been on top of his game and is a politician, adept at sod-turning, but he has failed in the acid test as MEC, which is to hold the SAPS accountable to communities on standards of service delivery.

Crime in KZN shows no sign of improvement.  Certainly, there have not been any major initiatives during 2013 to crush this scourge.  Instead, successful anti drug units have been shut down despite the strong link between substance abuse and violent crime.

The question is whether Mchunu’s successor will be any better.  Crime is an issue that affects each and every citizen in our province and it must be treated with the seriousness it deserves.  The acting Premier must bear this in mind when he appoints a replacement.

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Alberton High School contractor unpaid as costs balloon to R20 million

Paul Willemburg MPL

Spokesperson on Infrastructure Development

The chaotic state of the Gauteng Infrastructure Department has led to escalated costs and construction delays at the Alberton High School in Ekurhuleni.

Three month payment delays due to an alleged lack of money and the inability to plan properly has seen the R16.9 million alterations and maintenance project cost balloon to more than R20 million.

So far the contractor, Eagle Plumbers and Contractors, has received only R2.8 million of the total sum, way below what he should have received. For the month of June and July he has not been paid a single cent for the 23 people he has employed. He paid them out of his own pocket last month and now he has no more money.

A subcontractor, who also had to dip into his own account to pay for his 48 staffers and the building material, also had not paid.

Had the department done a proper assessment into what needed to be repaired before drawing up and awarding the contract, it wouldn’t be paying this much for maintenance,

Furthermore, if regular maintenance was done on all facilities and not just this school, maintenance work wouldn’t cost so much.

I will question Gauteng Infrastructure Development MEC Qedani Mahlangu at the next sitting of the Provincial Legislature.

Continued delays on work at this school and the failure to pay contractors is completely unacceptable and the MEC must explain the chaotic situation at Alberton High.

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Mpumalanga scholar transport scheme remains in shambles

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga’s scholar transport scheme remains in a shambles, with contractors threatening to strike over non-payment, while the Department of Public Works Roads and Transport (DPWRT) are struggling to come to grips with the mandate of this programme.

While transferring the management of scholar transport from the Department of Education to the DPWRT was welcome, it seems to have been a futile exercise.

When considering that the DPWRT planned to monitor 341 scholar transport routes, but is actually monitoring 427 routes, and while only 100 of the planned 111 bus operators have been appointed, and the fact that the actual number of service providers have also been decreased, it is no wonder that the programme is riddled with instability.

Furthermore, government has allowed sub-contracting within the programme, with some middlemen not paying their sub-contractors. This practice not only threatens the continuous delivery of the service, as a strike looms over outstanding payments amounting to R27 million, but effectively inflates the actual cost of delivering the service.

By contracting bus operators directly, government would save the cost of enriching the middleman and service more transport routes.

As a result of the chaos government is delivering scholar transport to 3000 less learners than its original intention.

Judging by all these inefficiencies, it is clear to the DA that the scholar transport scheme continues to be mismanaged and just like the education department, the DPWRT is faltering in its mandate.

The DA believes stability and effective management of scholar transport can only be achieved when this programme is seen for its key contribution to learner education, rather than a lucrative cash cow aimed at enriching a select few.

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